Berbere roasted cauliflower with apricots, pine nuts & muhammara recipe


Berbere is a punchy hot spice mix from Ethiopia making your own means you can adjust the heat to suit. Muhammara is a glorious, dip-into or dollop-on invention that hails from Aleppo in Syria, but is now popular all across the whole Levantine area.

  • Yield: 4 Servings


  • 2 red (bell) peppers, deseeded and cut into strips
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ cup (50 g) walnut pieces
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • ½ cup (30 g) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp good-quality tomato ketchup
  • 1 tsp dried chilli/red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Berbere Spice Mix
  • 1 oz (30 g) chilli/red pepper flakes 8
  • ¼ oz (8 g) flaked sea salt
  • ¼ oz (8 g) coarsely ground black pepper
  • scant ¼ oz (7 g) ground cumin
  • scant ¼ oz (7 g) coriander seeds
  • 2 g fenugreek powder
  • 1 g ground ginger
  • ⅓ tsp allspice
  • ⅓ tsp ground cloves
  • ⅓ tsp ground nutmeg
  • seeds from 2 green cardamom pods
For the Cauliflower
  • 1 good-sized cauliflower
  • 3–4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tbsp berbere spice mix
  • scant ½ cup (50 g) toasted pine nuts/kernals
  • 1⅓ cups (200 g) dried apricots, halved
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses, to serve
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, to serve
  • a handful of freshly chopped coriander/cilantro, to serve
  • a small handful of freshly chopped parsley, to serve
  • mint leaves, to garnish, to serve
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 190˚C (375˚F) Gas 5. To make the muhammara, toss the red (bell) peppers with 2 tbsp of the oil and the cumin and arrange the strips over a large sheet pan. Roast for about 20 minutes, until softened and slightly charred.
  2. Transfer to a blender and whiz to a purée. Add the walnuts, garlic, breadcrumbs, pomegranate molasses, ketchup, chilli/red pepper flakes and remaining oil and whiz again, until you have a lightly textured purée with the consistency of whipped cream. If the mixture is a little too thick, add some warm water. Season and set aside.
  3. For the berbere spice mix, grind the spices together using a pestle and mortar, until you have a lightly textured powder.
  4. For the cauliflower, break the cauliflower into small florets and toss in a bowl with the olive oil and Berbere spice mix.
  5. Spread over the sheet pan used for the (bell) peppers and roast for about 15 minutes, until the cauliflower is cooked, but still has a little bite. Scatter over the pine nuts/kernels and apricots and return to the oven for a few minutes to warm through.
  6. Stir the pomegranate molasses and oil together and spoon over the cauliflower. Scatter with the freshly chopped herbs and mint leaves, and serve with the muhammara.

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